The next LASER Talks Brussels is scheduled for March 08
Hosted by IMAL - Center for Digital Cultures


LASER Talks Brussels – Out-of-control-ness and the emergence of possibilities
CHAIRED BY: Alexandra Dementieva
Panelists: Frances BRAZIER – Joost REKVELD – Frank THEYS
Moderator: Edith Doove

This is the 4rd talk in the series, discussing notions of out-of-control ness in a social and technical context that are at the core of the work of the three panelists: Prof. Dr. Frances BRAZIER who is a full professor in Engineering Systems Foundations at the Delft University of Technology and visual artists Joost REKVELD and Frank THEYS.
Brazier approaches the subject through her research into social systems and connects out-of-control-ness with the notion of emergence and new possibilities, the empowerment of people in change management. For Rekveld the notion of out-of-control-ness is related to his research into analog computing, its history and culture, pushing the limits of its affordance. For Theys it’s related to the current state of affairs of the world and global warming which is the subject of his latest interactive multimedia installation ‘Chronicle of an Extinction Foretold’.

Frances BRAZIER is a full professor in Engineering Systems Foundations at the Delft University of Technology, as of September 2009, before which she chaired the Intelligent Interactive Distributed Systems Group for 10 years within the Department of Computer Science at the VU University Amsterdam. She holds a MSc in Mathematics and a doctorate in Cognitive Ergonomics from the VU Amsterdam. Parallel to her academic career she co-founded the first ISP in the Netherlands: NLnet and later NLnet Labs. She is currently a board member of the NLnetLabs Foundation.
With a strong background in the design of  human computer interaction, multi-agents systems, and distributed systems, current research focuses on the design of socio-technical ecological systems that enable and support participation in today's networked society: participatory systems!  The leading design principles include design for trust, design for empowerment and design for engagement.   Areas of study and exploration include distributed energy management,  crisis management, dynamic supply chain management,  real-time safety management.

Joost REKVELD is an artist motivated by the question of what we can learn from a dialogue with machines. In his work, he explores the sensory consequences of systems of his own design, often inspired by forgotten corners in the history of science and technology. His films, installations and performances are composed documentaries of the worlds opened by such systems. His abstract films have been shown world-wide in a wide range of festivals and venues for experimental film, animation or other kinds of moving image. He has realized several installations and was involved in many collaborative projects involving composers, music ensembles, theatre companies, dance companies and artist’s labs. Since February 2017, he’s affiliated to the School of Arts, University College Ghent as an artistic researcher.

Frank THEYS is a visual artist, theatre and film maker. His audiovisual work varies from video and interactive installations to documentary, experimental film and theatre performance. He received several international awards such as the first award at the film and video festivals of Locarno, Montbéliard and Novi Sad. 
Frank Theys was cofounder of Argos, Centre for Arts and Media (Brussels) and of Dziga, the Belgian guild of media artists. He has taught audiovisual arts at LUCA Brussels and Ghent, performaing arts at DasArts, Masters in the Performing Arts at the Amsterdam School for the Arts (AHK) and art philosophy at the KABK ArtScience Interfaculty in The Hague. He has been a visiting teacher and lecturer at more than 30 universities, film and art schools worldwide.

The LASER Talks Brussels - Tuesday 07 September at 7pm
Hosted by IMAL - Center for Digital Cultures

Notions of Transhumanism
CHAIRED BY: Alexandra Dementieva
Panelists: Marc Coeckelberg, PETERMFRIESS and Angelo Vermeulen
Moderator: Edith Doove

Event info/Context:
In 2021 LASER Talks Brussels organizes four talks. This is the 3rd talk in the series, discussing notions that are at the core of the work of the three panelists: Marc Coeckelberg, PETERMFRIESS and Angelo Vermeulen.
According to a recently updated manifesto from Humanity+, Transhumanism can be interpreted as an approach to extend human lifespan and to expand human capabilities and states. The Manifesto continues stating that Transhumanism is the world’s strongest advocacy for a positive future in changing the human condition of disease, poverty and prejudice toward health, well-being, and prosperity.

In contrast to advocacy for improving the human condition, today’s interest in Transhumanism is in the first place not driven by direct necessities, but rather by commercial interests around Big data, AI, neuroscience, and more generally by platform entrepreneurs. Improvement of living conditions, planetary challenges and salvation are promised for the future, based on a strong technology dependence and externalisation of senses and reasoning capabilities. Critics often see Transhumanism as posing threats to human values and dignity by evoking transgenerational modification of human biology, body/brain cloning and genetic engineering. And in our highly competitive social environment, which demands increasingly efficient behaviour, any kind of enhancement is prone to increase inequalities in terms of wealth and social status or treatment. It can also be questioned if Transhumanism is an objective in itself, and how it relates to the idea of supremacy of the Homo Sapiens compared with other live-forms.

On the positive side Transhumanism can be seen as interesting stimuli for reflecting on desirable futures in light of human activity on Earth, which is provoking serious issues for humanity itself, but as well for other species. And what if Transhumanism is not a mere extension of lifespan, but a re-consideration and re-evolution on what constitutes humanity, and even a ‘going-beyond’ the humanity idea? This could be seen as an invitation to reflect in transversal manner between science, art and other disciplines on new and experienceable scenarios, linked to non-human based creativity for the future of us.

The role of the arts could be to challenge human-centred only scenarios, to evoke though questions around Transhumanism, to explore alternative design methods and use scenarios for technologies using artistic practices, and to make future emotionally experiencable for a larger audience. Beyond existing settings and conventions, the collaboration between scientist, artists and even machines could help us to develop new ideas, representing another ‘perception’ of the world and future thinking.


Mark Coeckelbergh
Mark Coeckelbergh is Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Vienna and former President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. He is the author of several books and has written many articles. He is best known for his work in philosophy of technology and ethics of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), he has also published in the areas of moral philosophy and environmental philosophy.

Peter Friess (artist name PETERMFRIESS) has a background in self-organizing social systems (Ph.D.) and space technology. Besides his activities in ICT innovation, he is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests, in particular artificial intelligence, system theory, humanities, philosophy and ecology. His focus is on the connection of societal changes to emotional and aesthetic values, and the enablement of transdisciplinary processes. His work has been shown around the world at exhibitions and festivals. and

Angelo Vermeulen
Angelo Vermeulen is a space systems researcher, biologist and artist. In 2009 he co-founded SEADS (Space Ecologies Art and Designs), an international transdisciplinary collective of artists, scientists, engineers, and activists. Its goal is to reshape the future through critical inquiry and hands-on experimentation. Currently, he works at Delft University of Technology on advanced concepts for interstellar exploration. His work proposes a bio-inspired design approach to deal with the unpredictability inherent to interstellar travel.

Laser Talk Brussels is moderated by
Dr. Edith Doove is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. She holds a PhD as member of Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University. Since 2018 she lives and works in France, currently in Rouen where she teaches at ESADHaR (École supérieure d’art et design Le Havre Rouen). She is a postdoctoral advisor with Transtechnology Research, a regular contributor to Leonardo Reviews, moderator of the Leonardo LASER Talks Brussels and co-convenor of Currer Bell College. Recent exhibition projects are Loving Care – Pierre Mertens (Blikfabriek, Antwerp, 2020), Troupe/Troep (ChezKit, Pantin/Paris, 2021) and the 10th anniversary version of the international art project Bolero (Rouen, 2021).

1. Paul Malone's Interpretation, Phase 01 of the ‘aleatory whispers: arachnids' project
2. Ulrike Kuchner’s Interpretation, Phase 01 of the ‘aleatory whispers: arachnids’ project

Dr. Ulrike KUCHNER followed both of her passions and (simultaneously) studied Astrophysics at the University of Vienna, Austria, as well as Fine Arts/Paintings at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she was born and raised. Today, after Masters and Ph.D. degrees have taken her to Australia, Chile, the US and Germany, she is an astronomer as well as a visual artist, currently based in the UK, where she works as a post-doctoral researcher for the University of Nottingham. In her scientific research, she studies how mass is assembled in the Universe and how galaxies form and evolve over their lifetime. As an artist she operates where art, culture, and science intersect, using both backgrounds to find or reject interdisciplinary answers to overarching questions. Her art often deals with the themes of humanity and imperfections in data, something we tend to strip away from science. She also joins the creative process of other art-scientists and science-artists as curator, mentor and researcher, and challenges the frontiers between the two cultures, translating between the fields without imposing a hierarchy.

Paul MALONE has always been interested in how the physical world comes to be; how it originates and what is its relationship to consciousness. In pursuing this research he has explored many historic lost and forgotten theories of science and natural philosophy; especially so in astrophysics. Often these early theories can be repurposed with contemporary data to resolve otherwise intractable problems within the current paradigm. The artworks he creates use these concepts as source material and it is often intriguing how this process assists in the visual understanding those phenomena. Paul is currently researching theories from the pre-Einstein era in relation to the phenomenon we call the Sun. This object is one of the most easily observed of all those in astronomy and yet it still presents some of the deepest and manifest mysteries within human understanding.

Paul studied Fine Art at Reading University for B.A. Degree in 1976 and MFA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1980. Since leaving college he has worked in studios based in the London districts of Waterloo, Greenwich and, most recently, Art in Perpetuity in Deptford. He has exhibited extensively in the U.K., U.S. and Europe and engaged in curatorial practice through international exhibition exchanges and movie projects. He also delivers lectures and workshops about the historic astrophysical researches he is currently studying.

KUCHNER and MALONE currently collaborate on the project Aleatory Whispers.

Els VAN RIEL lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She studied photo- and cinematography, and worked as a photographer, editor and producer for various photo-, film-, video- and theatre productions. Her films, video's and installations explore the impact of detailed changes in moment, movement, matter, light and perception. With links to the tradition of structural film making, her work explores the basic elements of cinema -time and light- and develops a form for new aesthetic pleasure, bypassing any symbolism and narrativity. For van Riel the projector is a central figure in the cinematographical act of giving form to a screening, performance or installation. The mechanical image source often becomes actively present as if it were a living object.

Dr. Edith Doove is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. She started curating in 1987 in Antwerp and worked as a freelance curator and art critic in Belgium until 2010 before moving to the UK where she became a member of Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University and attained her PhD in November 2017. Since 2018 she lives and works in France, currently in Rouen where she teaches at ESADHaR Le Havre-Rouen. She is a postdoctoral advisor with Transtechnology Research, a regular contributor to Leonardo Reviews, and co-convenor of Currer Bell College. With her creative consultancy BUREAU DOOVE, which she started in 2014, Doove continues to develop a unique bespoke way of collaborating, working, with, for and alongside artists and researchers.

Alexandra Dementieva is a multimedia artist, based in Brussels. The idea of interaction between the viewer and an artwork, mediated by technologically progressive visualization methods, lies at the core of her work. In her installations she uses various art forms on an equal basis: dance, music, cinema and performance. Akin to an explorer she raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means, that is by taking a subjective stance behind a camera. Her installations focus on the role of the viewer and her/his interaction with an artwork and bring forth ways of provoking the viewer’s involvement thus allowing hidden mechanisms of human behaviour to be revealed.

CHAIRED BY: Alexandra Dementieva

When: 20th April 2021, 7pm
In 2021 there will be four talks, starting Tuesday 20 April with a conversation with Annemarie Maes, artist and researcher, and Camilla Colombo, curator. Edith Doove will be moderator. Annemarie Maes is showing her exhibition SENSORIAL SKINS - WOVEN BY NATURE, in 2 parts at PILAR, House for Art and Science - Brussels 8 - 23 April 2021 iMAL, Art Center for Digital Culture and Technology -Brussels 29 April - 16 May 2021 with Camilla Colombo as curator.


Dr. Edith Doove is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. She started curating in 1987 in Antwerp and worked as a freelance curator and art critic in Belgium until 2010 when she moved to the UK. Since 2018 she lives and works in France, currently in Rouen where she teaches at ESADHaR Le Havre-Rouen. She is a postdoctoral advisor with Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University where she attained her PhD in November 2017. She’s a regular contributor to Leonardo Reviews since 2010, co-convenor of Currer Bell College since 2019 and a member of AICA and C-E-A, the French Organization of Curators. With BUREAU DOOVE, which she started in 2014, Doove continues to develop a unique bespoke way of collaborating, working, with, for and alongside artists and researchers.

AnneMarie Maes is an artist who has been studying the close interactions and co-evolutions within urban ecosystems. Her research practice combines art and science, with a keen interest in DIY technologies and biotechnology. She works with a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including live organisms. Her artistic research is materialised in techno-organic objects that are inspired by factual/fictional stories; in artefacts that are a combination of digital fabrication and craftsmanship; in installations that reflect both the problem and the (possible) solution, in multispecies collaborations, in polymorphic forms and models created by eco-data. On the rooftop of her studio in Brussels (BE) she has created an open-air lab and experimental garden where she studies the processes that nature employs to create form. Her research provides an ongoing source of inspiration for her artworks. Bee Agency as well as the Laboratory for Form and Matter -in which she experiments with bacteria and living textiles - provide a framework that has inspired a wide range of installations, sculptures, photography works, objects and books - all at the intersection of art, science and technology. In 2017, she received an Honorary Mention in the Hybrid Art category at Ars Electronica for the Intelligent Guerrilla Beehive project.

Camilla Colombo, is a curator and producer whose practice focuses on arts and sciences.She curated exhibitions in collaboration with the Museum of Ixelles, at BOZAR, PILAR and iMal in Brussels, and she collaborated with z33 (Hasselt) and Atelier LUMA in Arles(France). With a background in the performing arts and in advocacy for the arts at the European level, Camilla worked in Italy, the UK, and Belgium. Interested in hybridisation and crossing of disciplines, she served in art organisations of all sizes as well as with independent artists, focusing on multidisciplinary and multimedia productions. Since 2016 she is based in Brussels where she started merging her multilayered and multidisciplinary experiences in her curatorial practice. She is co-founder and Artistic Director of Ohme, an organisation curating and producing through collaborative practices at the nexus of arts and sciences. In 2019 she co-founded SALOON Brussels, network for women working in the art scene of the Belgian capital. Aside from her curatorial practice, Camilla regularly organises and moderate panel talks usually gathering artists, scientists, researchers and civil society.


The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 40 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks